A Step by Step Guide for Staying Present & Get Out of the "What's Next" Mentality!
The world we live in is moving fast, there's no doubt about that. To keep up with it, I find that I've fallen into a "what's next" mentality. A mentality where I focus on what I need to be doing next to get ahead, to stay on the pulse of things, to out do what I've done and keep things moving.
What does this do to me? It takes me out of the present, that's for damn sure. I've noticed that I've lost my sense of the here & now. I have difficulties enjoying the simplicity in a moment because my mind is always thinking, "What should I be doing? What's my next step?" To be honest, it makes me feel bogged down, stuck in a routine, and extremely anxious.
But hey, we ALL fall into that trap sometimes! The important thing is that we recognize it and make the necessary adjustments to bring ourselves back to the present moment so we can learn, love, and grow within the present.
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for us to be aware and planning for the future. However when we find most of our time is spent in that space, we need to reset & rebalance ourselves so we spend most of our time/thinking in the here & now.
"If you are depressed, you're living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the moment." Lao Tzu.
Here's my step by step action plan for staying in the present and getting out of the "What's Next" mentality!
Step 1: Start Each Day Present
If you've worked with me or have been following me, you know that I am a HUGE believer in the power of morning routines. Why? Because this is your chance to start the day present and quiet your monkey mind about what's to come.
Here's a little exercise (that won't take you long AT ALL!!!! Scouts honor.) to add to your morning routine, or if you don't have one yet, to use as your morning routine. Write these three questions out and answer them:
1. What can I be excited about TODAY?
2. What might trip me up?
3. What can I do to surprise someone today?
Yes, you are thinking about what's going on throughout your day but this has proven to pull me into a present space throughout my day. It also helps to keep me in my current day versus days to come. These questions came from the great, Brendon Burchard! Grab his book High Performance Habits! It's seriously amazing!
Step 2: Focus on Daily Wins!
This one is SOOOOOOO hard for me. I fall into the trap of comparing myself to others and feel like I'm not doing enough to get to where they are. When I create something, as soon as it's done I think forward to the next thing instead of noticing how that creation is helping people. When I pull myself out of this space and focus on small wins throughout my day, I find that I am not only more present but hanging out in some seriously abundant energy.
In this YouTube Video, the speaker says, "If you want to change the world, start by making your bed." Well, damn. I can do that! Instead of rushing through it to the next thing, think of it as an accomplishment. If I make the bed, then I can move onto my next step in making bigger changes in this world.
Take a moment mid-day to recognize at least THREE mini-successes you've accomplished in the morning and then do the same before going to bed. You'll be amazed at what you come up with! It's the little ripples that create the biggest waves.
Step 3: Notice How You Feel
Just like Lao Tzu explains in the quote above, how you feel will tell the story. If you're feeling anxious, it's a clear sign that you're not hanging in the present moment. It's a clue that you're wasting energy worrying about how to make the next move.
Checking in with your body and taking notice of it will give you the quickest and easiest insight for pulling yourself into the present. And ya know what, it always seems that when I move back into my present space, that's when all the answers become clear. When we move out of the future anxiety, we create space to receive clarity, abundance, and growth.
Set an alarm on your phone throughout the day, even just twice will do, to check in and notice how you're feeling. If there is anything but peace, take a moment to close your eyes, breath in fresh air, and say, "Everything is fine right here and right now." Bring that mantra with you throughout the day.
Step 4: Pray
Carry this prayer with you into each moment. Repeat it so often that you memorize it and it becomes part of what you do.
"Dear Universe/God/Higher Power (insert whatever you want), show me how I can be of service in this situation."
When you are focusing on being of a service in a specific moment, your mindset shifts from the future to the present real fast.
Step 5: Explore & Try Something New
By far one of my most favorite steps! When I find myself living in anxiety a.k.a the future hustle, I bring myself on a little exploration. If weather permits, I'll go outside and explore to see what I can find. I'll walk around and acknowledge all the beauty that surrounds me. Mother Nature sure knows what she's doing after all. This zaps me from the future back to the present like a scene from Back to the Future. (Sorry, I had to!)
Another thing I like to do is try something completely new. Something that requires me to turn off my "what's next" brain and be present to learn. Not only does this require you to be fully in the moment, but it also creates an environment that you have never experienced before and instead of defaulting to routine, opens up opportunity for unexplored moments of joy, laughter, and fun.
Comment below and let me know what steps you plan to implement! Or, if you plan on trying something new, comment what that might be below!